Sens. Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee made clear during a closed-door GOP meeting Tuesday that they’re not ready to support the party’s health care bill. One aide said the three threatened to vote no — Johnson because of process concerns, Lee and Cruz because of policy concerns — though other aides and lawmakers said the senators were vocally frustrated, but didn’t go as far as making serious threats.
“I don’t think a lot of people are at yes right now,” Sen. John Thune said after the meeting. “I wouldn’t characterize it as there were any, like, ultimatums. But there were concerns being voiced both with respect to substance and process, and that’s kind of a natural part of the conversation. I mean, we’re trying to work through both of those issues to get to, hopefully, a vote next week on a bill that we can all be for.”
Why this matters: Details about the health care bill are finally starting to emerge, forcing senators to say where they stand — and many don’t seem happy with what’s being presented.
One aide who attended Wednesday’s working-group meeting described it as “testy”; another said “there was a lot of brio in the room.” The meeting focused on waivers from certain Affordable Care Act regulations, as well as other market reforms. The waivers wouldn’t explicitly touch regulations protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and even those more limited waiver provisions will likely be removed from the bill next week if the Senate parliamentarian says they don’t comply with the rules for the reconciliation process. Losing that part of the bill would be a big loss for conservatives.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 19, 2017
I wondered when one of the White House press corps would buy a clue:
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Monday questioned why he, and the rest of the press corps, bothered showing up.
“I don’t know what world we’re living in right now,” Acosta said on air after White House press secretary Sean Spicer took questions from reporters but didn’t allow video or audio coverage of the exchanges.
“I don’t know why everybody is going along with this,” he added. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It just feels like we’re sort of slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the president of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”
[…] HuffPost asked Acosta how reporters could push back against the White House’s restrictions.
“We should walk out,” he responded.
“There must be collective action or else the stonewalling will continue,” Acosta added.
So Trump seems a little upset this morning. I wonder why? I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt – Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017 Is it that the transition team was just ordered to preserve documents? Trump’s transition team… Continue Reading →
The Wisconsin Assembly votes Wednesday on whether to call for a convention to change the U.S. Constitution. While that in itself is surprising — the American people have never exercised their legally enshrined right to convene a new Constitutional convention — what’s more surprising is that pro-business groups with ties to the Koch brothers have pushed… Continue Reading →
Fire Robert Mueller. That is the doomsday scenario formulated by some of the president’s most extreme backers, who are obviously terrified by the potential findings of the special counsel’s investigation of illicit connections between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Last Saturday evening, Ann Coulter – whose interpretation of reality is always suspect – fired off… Continue Reading →
If we know for a fact that the Russians (despite yesterday’s NRA reassurances) did, in fact, change the outcome of the election, would they tell us?
I don’t think so.
Look at this video. It was two months ago, after senators were given a private briefing from James Comey.
Look at their faces. Both Feinstein and Grassley look… gut-punched. The color has drained from their faces. What do you suppose Comey could have told them that got that reaction?
I’m gonna go with a stolen election, one they’re going to keep under wraps. Because our Founders, as prescient as they were about most things, did not provide us with any kind of mechanism with which to right a stolen election. Sure, we can impeach Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, but what happens to his administration?
I am watching all this with a sinking feeling.
“If Trump loves Russia so much, why didn’t he lift the sanctions?”
In the early weeks of the Trump administration, former Obama administration officials and State Department staffers fought an intense, behind-the-scenes battle to head off efforts by incoming officials to normalize relations with Russia, according to multiple sources familiar with the events.
Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve tensions with Moscow.
These efforts to relax or remove punitive measures imposed by President Obama in retaliation for Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and meddling in the 2016 election alarmed some State Department officials, who immediately began lobbying congressional leaders to quickly pass legislation to block the move, the sources said.
“There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions,” said Dan Fried, a veteran State Department official who served as chief U.S. coordinator for sanctions policy until he retired in late February. He said in the first few weeks of the administration, he received several “panicky” calls from U.S. government officials who told him they had been directed to develop a sanctions-lifting package and imploring him, “Please, my God, can’t you stop this?”
Fried said he grew so concerned that he contacted Capitol Hill allies — including Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking minority member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — to urge them to move quickly to pass legislation that would “codify” the sanctions in place, making it difficult for President Trump to remove them.
Rep. Devin Nunes put being a Trump surrogate above being a member of the House of Representatives (again) by unilaterally issuing subpoenas to the FBI, CIA, and NSA without telling any of the other committee members. Rep. Nunes embarrassed himself and the entire House Intelligence Committee with his bogus late night antic of running… Continue Reading →
One of the strategies Donald Trump employed as he began putting his name on the U.S. political map years ago was championing “birtherism,” the long-held conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born outside of the U.S. and hence should never have been elected. He often chastised Obama and demanded the president produce his birth certificate,… Continue Reading →
This story is getting lost in the shuffle tonight, but it’s pretty big, too:
Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch once close to President Trump’s former campaign manager, has offered to cooperate with congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but lawmakers are unwilling to accept his conditions, according to congressional officials.
Mr. Deripaska’s offer comes amid increased attention to his ties to Paul Manafort, who is one of several Trump associates under F.B.I. scrutiny for possible collusion with Russia during the presidential campaign. The two men did business together in the mid-2000s, when Mr. Manafort, a Republican operative, was also providing campaign advice to Kremlin-backed politicians in Ukraine. Their relationship subsequently soured and devolved into a lawsuit.
Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate who is a member of the inner circle of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, recently offered to cooperate with congressional intelligence committees in exchange for a grant of full immunity, according to three congressional officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. But the Senate and House panels turned him down because of concerns that immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators, the officials said.
Mr. Deripaska, who lives in Moscow, has long had difficulty traveling to the United States. The State Department has refused to issue him a business visa because of concerns over allegations that he was connected to organized crime, according to a former United States government official, which Mr. Deripaska has denied.